(4.11) The Preparation of the Altar and Presentation of the Gifts
Liturgical Prayer and Action
The altar is made ready by deacon who will solemnly place the corporal on the table with the chalice, purificator and the Roman Missal on it.
Presentation of the Gifts
The procession with the bread, wine and other gifts is accompanied by the offertory Chant. Collection of money is also taken around this period.
Gifts are brought to a suitable table away from the altar as the Lord’s Table is reserved for the bread and wine which is carried to the altar.
The deacon then gives the paten with the bread to the priest who prays over it:
“Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.”
The deacon will thereafter mix wine and water to be given to the priest who prays over it.
“Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.”
The prayer over the bread and wine may be done quietly or aloud. If it is done aloud we reply:
Blessed be God forever.
Origin and Meaning
Nature to nurture
For what God has given to us in natural form such as grain and grapes, we created bread and wine which we offer back to him. In similar manner, God requires us to work and be creative of whatever he has given us; our life, talent, education and so much more to be given back to him.
He is against wasting and stagnation which we get to know in the Parable of the Talents (Mt 25:14-28). It is the story of a man who entrusted his talents (an ancient value of money) to three of his servants. The first servant was given five talents and made good work of his talents by doubling it. The second servant got two talents and doubled it as well. The two pleased their master and both were given more responsibility they deserve. The third servant who was given one talent decided to bury it and came up with excuses. The master admonished him for his laziness and gave his talent to the one who made ten talents.
“For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away” (Mt 25:29).
This parable seemed to be both fair and unfair but this is the fact of life, even up to now.
The Quality of the Sacrifice
How will we know if our sacrifice is pleasing to the Lord? Well there is no exact measurement but the Parable of the Widow’s offering (Lk 21:1-4) is a gold standard on how much we should give back to the Lord:
“He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”